CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) - NBC and the Sci Fi Channel are all set to get into the primetime computer-animated series business as the two have finalized the principal voice casts for their respective projects "The Father of the Pride" and "Tripping the Rift."
John Goodman ("Roseanne"), Orlando Jones ("Drumline"), Carl Reiner ("The Dick Van Dyke Show") and Cheryl Hines ("Curb Your Enthusiasm") will topline the Peacock's project, which is being eyed for a fall 2004 bow. "Pride" centers on a pride of white lions that perform in the world-famous Las Vegas act of Siegfried & Roy.
NBC's press release on the news adds, "Goodman will play Larry, a hard-working white lion in the revue while Hines will portray his wife Kate, a white lioness. Reiner will be Sarmoti, another white lion who is Kate�s father - and Larry�s father-in-law - who clashes with Larry on every subject imaginable. Jones� character is Snack, a mischievous gopher and Larry�s best friend."
Dreamworks Television is behind the project, which is executive produced by Jonathan Groff ("Late Night with Conan O�Brien"), Jeffrey Katzenberg ("Shrek"), Peter Mehlman ("Seinfeld") and Jon Pollack ("Just Shoot Me").
Meanwhile, Gina Gershon ("Bound"), Stephen Root ("NewsRadio") and "Stuttering" John Melendez are set to voice Sci Fi's "Tripping the Rift," based on the award-winning short of the same name. CineGroupe ("Galidor: Defenders of the Outer Dimension") is producing the project, which is set to debut in January 2004, in association with Film Roman ("The Simpsons").
According to information released by the channel, "The series follows the adventures of The Free Enterprise, a smuggling vessel led by a stumpy purple alien named Chode (Root) who, along with his colorful group of misfit shipmates, battles archenemies and new obstacles in space each week."
"Chode's crew includes Six (Gershon), a sexy cyborg who happens to be the most advanced android ever created; Gus (Maurice LaMarche, who voiced Brain in Pinky & The Brain), Chode's sexually confused and verbally abused robot slave; T'Nuk (Gayle Garfinkle), the ship's aesthetically challenged pilot; and Whip (Rick Jones), Chode's teenage slacker nephew. "Stuttering" John Melendez provides the voice of Spaceship Bob, the fastest ship in the galaxy."
Both series have orders for 13 half-hour episodes.